‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ Delayed Until Next Year Due To ‘Technological Issues’

'Having been mistaken once, we don't want to be mistaken twice,' Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick says, guaranteeing no further delays.

Update the gaming calendar for October 2007. Publisher Take-Two Interactive announced Thursday (August 2) that “Grand Theft Auto IV” is being delayed until early next year, due to “technological issues.”

The company is targeting its second quarter of next fiscal year, allowing for a release sometime between February 1 and April 30. In a conference call with investors, a Take-Two executive narrowed that down, saying, “Putting ‘GTA IV’ out in the Easter season isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

Rockstar Games, developer of the “GTA” series, has been proudly promoting the previously announced October 16 release date on Xbox 360 and PS3 for months, with no hint of a pending delay (see ” ‘GTA IV’ Revealed: Game Returning To City That Made It Famous” ). Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said those plans changed a day ago after Take-Two executives reviewed the latest build of the game. The decision to delay was made within 24 hours.

“We determined today that a delay in the launch was essential to ensure the quality of ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ ” Zelnick said in the conference call late Monday.

“The reason it is being delayed is almost strictly technological problems — not problems, but challenges,” Zelnick said. He said it was a challenge to create an ambitious game for two very different platforms but declined to say what the hitches actually were. “The technology that we’re developing for ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ is pretty complex. It’s a big game. There are technical challenges across the board on both PS3 and 360. Our intention is to create a game that is the same experience on both 360 and PS3. I know that there have been rumors in the market about frame-rate and some other issues. We don’t think it’s helpful or beneficial to go into what the technological issues are. We are pushing the envelope on both platforms.”

Zelnick declined to say how the delay would affect the “GTA IV” downloadable bonus content previously announced as exclusive to Xbox 360 and slated for early 2008.

Previous major “GTA” console games were released like clockwork in the in October 2001, 2002 and 2004. This marks the series’ first major delay.

Zelnick guaranteed that the game won’t be delayed again. “Having been mistaken once, we don’t want to be mistaken twice.”

Take-Two also announced Thursday that “Manhunt 2,” currently suspended from release because it has run afoul of ratings boards in the U.S. and U.K. (see “Rockstar Games’ ‘Manhunt 2′ Slapped With ‘Adults Only’ Rating” ), would not be released any time in its current fiscal year, which ends on Halloween.

Check out the new MTV News Multiplayer blog, updated daily, for even more gaming coverage.